Young woman’s death sparks fears of a killer TB strain on Australia’s doorstep

March 14, 2013 QUEENSLND – Australia’s first victim of a killer strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis has died, amid warnings of a looming health epidemic on Queensland’s doorstep. Medical experts are seriously concerned about the handling of the TB epidemic in Papua New Guinea after Catherina Abraham died last Thursday of an incurable form of the illness, known as XDR-TB (extensively drug resistant TB) in Cairns Base Hospital. The 20-year-old had been in an isolation ward since May last year after an outbreak of the highly-contagious mutated form of TB on Daru Island, off Cape York. Some doctors fear she will become the first of a wave medical refugees heading to Queensland for treatment. The State’s Chief Health officer Jeanette Young has urged people not to panic about the threat of an outbreak on the mainland. But respiratory physician Steve Vincent, who treated Ms Abraham, warned that there was a further threat of Totally Drug Resistant or TDR-TB “just around the corner. Her death is not unexpected given the fallout of this killer, incurable disease,” Dr Vincent said. “Despite all the first-world medical treatment, it shows how difficult it is to control. A Papua New Guinean man crosses the waters of the Torres Strait. “It exemplifies the fact with such a high mortality rate, PNG is going to have an extremely difficult time in handling this epidemic.” He said doctors may soon face the ethical dilemma, where it might be “more humane not to treat them and let them die,” as the disease was untreatable. Australian and Papua New Guinean authorities are trying to contain XDR-TB to the shanty towns of Daru Island as more than 14,500 TB cases are diagnosed in PNG’s Western Province every year. Federal MP Warren Entsch, whose electorate includes the Torres Strait, yesterday said the $31 million AusAid TB program in the Western Province was “riddled with corruption” and “completely inadequate.” He said Ms .Abraham’s death was a grim reminder of the ‘looming public health disaster on our doorstep.’ XDR-TB is estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million a patient to treat in Australian hospitals, with a low cure rate and high death rate. Dr. Young said she supported efforts to contain the epidemic to the PNG side of the border and not reopen clinics on the Torres Strait islands of Boigu or Saibai. She said re-opening health clinics on Boigu or Saibai islands would only increase the risk of cross-border infection in the Torres Strait. –Courier Mail
Drug-resistant TB case touches off scare in U.S. – We don’t know too much about a Nepalese man who’s in medical isolation in Texas while being treated for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR-TB, the most difficult-to-treat kind. Health authorities are keen to protect his privacy. But we do know that he traveled through 13 countries — from South Asia to somewhere in the Persian Gulf to Latin America — before he entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico in late November. He traveled by plane, bus, boat, car and on foot. And all the way he may have unwittingly put hundreds of other people at risk of getting the highly drug-resistant TB strain. That possibility has triggered a far-reaching investigation by the U.S. and other health authorities to track down potentially exposed people around the world. “It’s a huge effort that’s ongoing,” Dr. Martin Cetron, who heads the division of global management and quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tells Shots. The case, first described by Betsy McKay at the The Wall Street Journal, provides a window on a problem that health officials say is sure to arise more and more often. XDR-TB is a more dangerous part of a bigger problem with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB. “We estimate at any one time in the world there are about 630,000 cases of MDR-TB,” Dr. Dennis Falzon of the World Health Organization tells Shots, referring to multi-drug-resistant TB. MDR-TB isn’t vanquished by the two mainstay drugs isoniazid and rifampin and requires more complicated drug regimens. In 2007, a young lawyer named Andrew Speaker became the best-known case of MDR-TB when he flew to Europe, potentially exposing other passengers. XDR-TB is resistant not only to isoniazid and rifampin but also a class of drugs called fluoroquinolones and one or more potent injectable antibiotics. TB germs become drug-resistant when patients fail to complete a course of treatment. When a partly-resistant strain is treated with the wrong drugs, it can become extensively resistant. There are about 60,000 people with XDR-TB strains like the Nepalese man who’s in isolation, Falzon says. That means there are other people with XDR-TB traveling the world at any given time. Like the Nepalese man, until he got to the U.S., Falzon says, ‘many of these XDR cases aren’t even diagnosed.” –NPR
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8 Responses to Young woman’s death sparks fears of a killer TB strain on Australia’s doorstep

  1. godsfingers says:

    When man plays god, things go from bad to worse and he is exposed to just how big God is. My wife is an RN and on top of this subject. God made this incredible body designed to fight off pestilence and after a century of filling it with drugs and phantom illnesses adjusting to normal occurences is becoming impossible. Humans that normally would have been eliminated still walk around contributing to the mass of the viral spectrum. Not trying to be trite but we ain’t seen nothin yet…


    • lilswede says:

      I agree with you Sir 100% ,,,seems me to God Is Doing all HE can do to shake us ,,wake us from our slumber, there are far to many things happening in todays world,,these are changing,dangerous and Troubing times,,Some people are awake to these signs,but sadly, most are not,,I am a God fearing Woman and Believe that Prophecy is with out a doubt unraveling right before our eyes If you SEE,,All these these signs & Warnings are coming at us at a very fast pace,God Help us,,we must pray.,,Repent and ask for more strength,,as you said Sir,,we ain’t seen nothin YET!..God Bless you,,B,


  2. niebo says:

    “He said doctors may soon face the ethical dilemma, where it might be “more humane not to treat them and let them die,” as the disease was untreatable.”

    “Health authorities are keen to protect his privacy.”

    ?? I realize that these stories are from two different countries, about separate outbreaks of distinct strains of the same disease, BUT, (instead of mention the other recent article wherein another doctor admits that drug companies do not have “profit motive” to develop new anti-biotics to treat these things) I shall put these two statements together and see what happens:

    “It might be more humane not to treat them and let them die, but we won’t publicize who ‘them’ are.”


  3. Xanthippe says:

    Natural Treatment for TB:
    1) Smoke from the needles of the White Pine tree inhaled deeply and frequently on a daily basis. Any pine needles are beneficial. An easy way to do this is to throw a fresh pine bough on top of a wood burning stove, or into the coals of a small outdoor fire, or put a small handful of needles in a cast iron skillet on low on a stove. If nausea occurs, alternate treatment with fresh air and reduce exposure to smoke until nausea diminishes.
    2) Eucalyptus oil sprinkled on a wash cloth or cotton ball, held near the nose or mouth during sleeping and resting hours. If nausea occurs, use less essential oil. Frequency is better than high potency.
    3) Garlic poultices applied to the chest 3 – 6 times daily. Fold a peeled garlic clove inside of a wash cloth. Smash the “bump” of the clove by pressing down with a weight like a skillet or flat side of a knife. Run poultice under hot tap water. Lightly wring out poultice. Rub chest with any oil (olive oil is good) and apply poultice. If skin begins to feel hot or burning sensation occurs, remove poultice and add an extra layer of cloth. Apply poultice 90 seconds.
    4) Use wood heat and keep your home as dry as possible. Move to Arizona or New Mexico.
    5) Supplements: Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Full Spectrum Mineral, Cod Liver Oil, Marshmallow Root capsules, pipe tobacco containing: Mullein and/or White Pine.
    6) Note that XDR stands for “Extremely Drug Resistant.” Antibiotics lower your body’s immune system. The more/longer you take these drugs, the lower your chances of recovery. The protocol above will serve you better than being yet another fatal antibiotic experiment.


  4. Emanni says:



  5. tonic says:

    Ever thought about taking some timeout, Alvin. Your life is not more or less from ours. It would be pretty cool if you forgot everything for a little while and enjoyed the wonder of the world we now have.
    It’s impossible to explain to a single person the life changing consequences of having a child.
    It’s impossible to explain to you the consequences of stress and the unending attention we require.
    Here’s the thing, Let us know when you depart, and when you might appear again, and we will wait for you. This is a promise.
    Take a break, I promise I will say something outrageous while you are away, just to keep everyone chomping at the bit.!!
    Life is precious, it’s a singular event, and while we need your wisdom everyday, God has given you life and it belongs to you only. NOT US.
    Please…. take time out, now.


  6. Irene C says:

    Sorry, not having anything to do with this article:

    INCOMING CME: A magnetic eruption on the sun during the early hours of March 15th hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the CME arrives on March 17th. High-latitude and possibly even middle-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras this weekend. Visit for more information and updates.


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